A Guide for Athletes & Sportspeople: Discover Ways to Prevent Spine Injury
All athletes, whether weekend warriors or professionals are high-risk cases for neck and back injuries. It is pretty common for professional athletes and sportspeople to experience extreme stress or strain on their lumbar spine or lower back. It can cause episodes of debilitating back pain. Experts point out in a Forbes article that around 17,810 spinal cord injuries happen annually in the United States alone. However, these statistics do not include spinal injuries culminating in fatalities. In this context, you may realize that motor accidents cause a maximum number of SCIs, but sports injuries, violent acts, and accidental falls are some of the top reasons behind spinal damage and injuries. Athletes and sports professionals are more susceptible to spinal injuries. It may not be 100 percent possible to prevent these injuries, but here are some effective ways of maintaining and boosting spinal health and avoiding injuries. Remember that a proper warm-up session with some effective stretching exercises may help minimize the chances of injuries.
Focus on Warming Up and Stretching
A perfect warm-up session with some stretching exercises is excellent for boosting blood circulation and enhancing muscle and ligament flexibility. It is best for improving overall athletic performance and preventing sports injuries, particularly spine injuries. Here are a few tactics for stretching properly.
- Keep stretching gently and at a slower pace only until you experience mild tension.
- Hold your stretch for a minimum of 10 to 30 seconds.
- Keep stretching for the same duration on other body parts.
- Remember to stretch once the game is over for alleviating tight or sore muscles.
Don’t Overexert Yourself
Sometimes when you undertake exercises that involve repeating the same movements again and again, you may suffer from overuse injuries like tennis elbow, tendonitis, bursitis, etc. to avoid these Repetitive Motion Disorders (RMDs), athletes should:
- Rest adequately between two sessions of working out, practicing, or playing a sport. Getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and managing stress levels are also crucial for optimizing recovery and reducing the risk of injuries.
- Athletes should pay careful attention to their form and technique during training and competition to help minimize stress on the spine.
- Work with sports medicine professionals, such as physical therapists, athletic trainers, or sports physicians, for valuable guidance in preventing spine injuries.
- Seek medical attention if there is persistent or worsening pain or any unusual symptoms like numbness or weakness
- Engage in a variety of sports and exercises to help prevent overuse injuries, including spine injuries. Cross-training allows athletes to work different muscle groups and reduce repetitive strain on the spine.
You may schedule an appointment with experts at Tarmeem Orthopedic and Spine Day Surgery Centre in Abu Dhabi for treating orthopedic and spinal issues or injuries.
Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
- Regular exercise and physical activity help strengthen the muscles that support and provide stability to the spine, reducing the risk of injuries. Flexibility exercises, such as stretching and yoga, improve the range of motion in the spine, making it less susceptible to strains or sprains.
- By adopting a balanced diet, athletes can manage their weight effectively and reduce the strain on their spines. Adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients supports bone health, reducing the risk of fractures or degenerative conditions.
- Staying hydrated is important for maintaining the health of spinal discs, which act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Dehydration can lead to decreased disc height and resilience, making the spine more susceptible to injuries.
- Maintaining a neutral spine alignment minimizes stress on the vertebrae, discs, and surrounding structures.
- Athletes can promote spine health and reduce the risk of injuries by avoiding smoking and moderating alcohol intake.
Remember to use proper gear and equipment to avoid sports injuries. You may focus on wearing protective gear like pads, helmets, neck rolls, etc. Always remember to wear supportive and well-constructed shoes. Spinal injuries and back pain emergencies should be addressed without losing any time.